18 Jun BETWEEN ROMANTICISM AND NOSTALGIA: THE FRESCOES OF ALMA TADEMA
There is a special atmosphere in the paintings of Alma Tadema (Leeuwarden 1836- Wiesbaden 1912), the painter originating from a small village in the Netherlands and master interpreter of the Victorian era.
“His fame,” writes the journalist Laura Larcan, “comes from being able to evoke the dream of a beautified world, where, however, the spasmodic attention to the materialistic and corporeal rendering of reality reveals an ephemeral neoclassic idealism, filling the scenes with a tangible and evocative nostalgia of the past”.
Nostalgia and romanticism are surely two sentiments that flow in the veins of the painter, emotions that he knows how to bring to his works through the artistic skill of an exact and meticulous design, assisted by a virtuous technique.
“Alma-Tadema,” writes Larcan, “seduces the observer by portraying women-maids on panoramic terraces in poses of romantic languor and “decadent” indolence, permeated by recurring floral motifs. He knows how to orchestrate subtle settings of alluring eroticism.”
Female figures depicted in ancient Roman scenes are the Dutch painter’s pièce de résistence. The beauty and realistic expressions that they convey, although “clouded” by a wind of nostalgia and decadence, are truly mesmerising.
Alma Tadema’s subjects are also a favourite with Mariani Affreschi and an expert painter from the Brescian company reproduces these types of frescoes, creating works of a high artistic level. “These frescoes have been popular with our customers for many years,” explains Alberto Mariani. “This is because their classic nature combined with the subtleness of the figures radiates a special kind of harmony and gentle sentiment. What’s more, the female figure, unlike that of a man, has always been more popular in home decorating.”
The beauty of these works created with the age-old fresco technique has also been enhanced by the artistic skill of the painter who interprets them. “The fresco technique,” continues to explain Alberto Mariani, “unlike oil painting, makes it difficult to obtain a kind of anatomical realism due to the course material, the mural base, and the short realisation period. In creating these works, the skill of the artist is critically important. He must have the skill to be able to create frescoes of great expressive value.”